Hispanic Leadership Fund urges approval of Keystone XL

The Hispanic Leadership Fund, an organization that advocates limited government and free markets, joined US oil and gas industry leaders in urging US President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project. HLF Pres. Mario H. Lopez’s announcement came as a joint US congressional committee began discussing whether to keep a provision approving the project in the new surface transportation bill.

“At a time when our country is hurting economically, the Hispanic unemployment rate has been hovering about 1 point above the national average,” he said during a May 8 teleconference he and American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice-Pres. Marty Durbin held with reporters. “Our members recognize that, even in states where the pipeline doesn’t run through, a significant number of jobs will be created.”

Lopez said small businesses particularly feel the impact of high gasoline prices, and noted that Hispanics start small businesses at a rate about three times the rest of the US economy’s. He also said Keystone XL would create jobs even in states outside the pipeline’s route, and expressed hope that the project would not become a victim of Obama administration political gamesmanship.

“We know the pipeline has the support of state and local leaders from across the country, and are disappointed in the current administration’s holding it up, apparently for political reasons,” he said. “The president can approve the Keystone XL pipeline and demonstrate to all Americans, including Latinos, that he’s committed to creating jobs.”

Durbin acknowledged the White House has indicated that it does not want a Keystone XL approval provision in the transportation bill, but added that the House inserted it anyway and it enjoys strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

“We understand it’s a political question that’s being considered now, which is why we wanted to add our voice to it. We certainly would welcome Congress’s going on record again in support of it,” he said. But the president doesn’t need Congress’s approval to act…. This is still the biggest shovel-ready project on the horizon. Keystone XL is as good-to-go as it gets.”

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